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Beginner planning 20each way commute? Help

thebullet118thebullet118 Posts: 8
edited March 2013 in Commuting general
Hi guys,

I’ve got a Chris boardman hybrid team bike, on the ‘Cycle2work’ scheme.

I’m planning to commute to work, from Syston (LE7) To work in coalville (LE67)
In the car its just under 17mile and cycling I’m looking at 19ish avoiding main roads.

I’m new to cycling, and looking for tips on how to train to my long commute to and from work =)

Any help would be brilliant

Thanks
Vincent

Posts

  • WooliferkinsWooliferkins Posts: 2,060
    edited February 2013
    It takes a while to get yourself up to speed for 4/5 days a week. Pace yourself The distance isn't the problem as much as ruining the ride with a days work in the middle. Food and fluids are the key. I was bad at eating and drinking something as soon as I arrived.
    Neil
    Help I'm Being Oppressed
  • Hi,

    I'm almost the same. I have a Boarmdan Hybrid Comp, and direct route to work is 18 miles in the car or 20 miles on the bike avoiding a busy A road. I just built up the miles I was doing after work / weekends until I could comfortably at least the full 40 miles in a single trip. I then had a couple of weekend practice runs for the actual commute, to get a rough idea of the likely time and to make a mental note of any potential hazards / potholes and the like.

    I usually do the commute twice a week, and have done it thrice on occasion. I tend to try and have a free day between biking to get a bit of a rest. Doing consecutive days of this distance, I find, does catch up with you - particularly if you get drawn into going after Strava segments (or PBs) all the time, which I'm guilty of.

    I find the biggest thing is limiting the amount of stuff you have to take. It makes a huge difference if you can work it so that you take all your clothes etc. for 1-2 weeks in in the car one day, similarly for bringing it home again.

    I generally find that I'm fine without breakfast before the commute into work (have it at my desk), but I do find having a banana about 30 minutes before leaving helps for coming home again.
  • Thanks guys,
    I think what I will do is tonight try to do 12-15+ miles tonight, and tomorrow, and then Saturday actually try my commute and see how far I can get.
    Don’t have much plans apart from shooting in the morning.
    Then Do some more miles next week and the Saturday try to commute again and see how I get on.

    Maybe try coming work on week on Tuesday, give myself loads of time in the morning. Then rest the next day =)

    Thanks
    Vincent
  • Godders1Godders1 Posts: 750
    Cycling 20 miles shouldn't be too difficult for anyone with a moderate level of fitness so you shouldn't have to build up too much to that. Of course doing it x10 in 5 days is a different prospect!

    When I started I rode in on Monday then got a lift/train back home and then back in again on Tuesday morning then rode home Tuesday night. Then had Wednesday off the bike altogether and repeated the Mon/Tues pattern on Thurs/Fri. Then just built up from there.

    As others have said eat/drink plenty (lots of sleep helps too) and don't get wrapped up in speed and beating your best time etc. At least not until your fitness is well up, you'll just burn yourself out.
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,226
    The problem is doing 2x20miles every day. Ease yourself into the distance gradually, consider days off midweek. Keep properly fuelled and watered.
    Make sure you minimise injuries. Consider some alt hand positions, either bar-ends , trekking bars or clip-on aerobars.
    You need some good lights with a durable battery or a dynamo-hub system. Consider a spare battery and spare lights.
  • That sounds brilliant guys, I’ve ordered some glasses and face mask,
    As I went out for 5minutes last night and then went home as my face was frozen.

    Gonna trail a run to work this weekend, take my time and see how long it’ll take me, and then do it twice a week with a break day =)

    Thanks
    Vincent
  • Can you find a pub or lay by or safe housing estate mid way so that you can put the bike in the boot and drive half way and cycle half way? I do this on my lazy days, like today when the headwind put me off the full distance, or on karate days when I need to get home quickly.
  • Won't like the idea leaving my car in a area alone for a good 9hours alone, as I've not long brought a brand new ford focus =)

    Just gotta build my fitness up =)
  • andyrrandyrr Posts: 1,534
    I've done similar for a good number of years now - only 35 round trip but it's pretty undulating so would, I feel, quite easily equate to 40 miles on a flatter route.
    Some issues I've encountered :
    Time : not sure how much longer cycling takes over driving for you but for me it means I'm out of the house earlier and back later than travelling by car : I leave 06:40 latest, back home 1800 or so. This does not always leave a lot of time for other stuff such as family, eating, bike and kit prep for next day, sleep etc, some days I start later/finish later which means I can be home after 7:30pm which leaves even less time for doing home-type stuff.

    Get all of your stuff prepared the night before - that means everything, I take a look at the weather forecast so I can determine if I might need those thicker gloves / waterproof jacket / etc for one of the rides, I hate rushing around trying to locate gloves, specs etc as I am about to jump on the bike.
    Carry as little stuff as you can get away with but I'd not skimp on the vitals, eg 3 spare tubes (maybe have 1 also at work), chain tool etc.
    If you can, as has been suggested, transport stuff in by car then all the better - I try to get a lift home once or twice a week and on those days I stick a bag with work clothes etc in the car and transport clothes for washing home again also.
    Also have decent lights - it is thankfully now getting lighter so this will become less of an issue for most but I suggest having at least 2 x front and 2 x rear lights. Saves on panic attacks when 1 fails on the way in to work.

    If you an alternate riding and non-riding days, at least to start, then it makes the riding days less of a drag. Doing it 5 days on the trott might well mean you're flagging by day 4 or 5.
    Try not to leave yourself having to batter in to work because you've left too late, try to have enough time to be able to go slow if you want or gop quicker if you feel up to it that day.
  • Taking it steady is really important. With a combination of sub-zero temps and a detour caused by bridge repairs, my commute is 17.5 miles each way with 2000ft of climbing done on an MTB with studded knobbly ice tyres. This is hard work. Hopefully your route is pretty flat. A road or CX bike might have been a better choice as a lower riding position gets you out of the wind.

    Avoid flappy clothes (close-fitting Lycra really does help) especially flappy jackets - they are like a parachute. Also avoid grinding/mashing the pedals but stay light on the pedals choosing a gear you can easily maintain 80rpm on.

    If you have a heart rate monitor, pace yourself at or below 70% to help you last as much as the week as possible. Do mix in some fast weeks where you ride less days though as the combination will really build your speed over time.

    As above, eat well and drink lots (especially after your ride to rehydrate). Focus on clothes that keep you warm (even when wet) rather than dry. No waterproof gear is going to keep you dry for 20 miles. Get cycling shoes and cleats.

    Choose some good puncture resistant tyres - I swear by Vittoria Rubino Pros: they are light and roll well - don't get sucked into heavy supposedly bullet-proof tyres - they drain your energy.

    Enjoying a longer commute is all about focusing on optimising the details - tyres, shoes, clothes

    Have fun
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • Hey guys,

    On my commute, It says It's got just under 500m of climbing on a cycle route planner.

    How tough is 500m climbinf for a beginner:?
  • pkripperpkripper Posts: 652
    Hey guys,

    On my commute, It says It's got just under 500m of climbing on a cycle route planner.

    How tough is 500m climbinf for a beginner:?

    500m in 17 miles? That's quite a bit for a beginner, but if it's long slow drags that's preferable to short steep ones as they can destroy you!

    I'd echo a lot of what's been said above, especially the taking it steady. Mine's a 17miler each way, and the difference between riding in and feeling relaxed on arrival or arriving feeling like I've been killed and couldn't ride again for a few days is only about 10% difference on the journey time.

    Preparation is key, spares, kit, food etc. You soon find what you haven't prepared for when you need it, so over rather than under prepare. Park patches and a quicklink should also be mandatory! And early on, while you're still getting used to it, if you're tired, sleep. Find another way in. Forcing yourself to cycle will kill the fun of it, and if there's no fun involved you won't keep it up.

    Oh, and lights. Light yourself up like a christmas tree, and in the day, still run a rear light. Makes a difference. Don't skimp on cost or quality on these - they're potential lifesavers.
  • Hey guys,

    On my commute, It says It's got just under 500m of climbing on a cycle route planner.

    How tough is 500m climbinf for a beginner:?

    500 mt in 17 miles is probably a software error in Leicestershire... you can get similar profiles in the Lake district, not where you live.

    Be realistic, right now you can't do it every day... pick the good days, those with good weather and drive the rest of the times... as spring rolls in, you will manage more and more and by June you might be able to do 5 days a week in all weathers.

    Good luck
  • Thanks guys,

    What I might do Is cycle in Tuesday (First time) And then drive the other 3 days, get a good feel to it =)
  • jimmypippajimmypippa Posts: 1,712
    Hey guys,

    On my commute, It says It's got just under 500m of climbing on a cycle route planner.

    How tough is 500m climbinf for a beginner:?

    500 mt in 17 miles is probably a software error in Leicestershire... you can get similar profiles in the Lake district, not where you live.

    Be realistic, right now you can't do it every day... pick the good days, those with good weather and drive the rest of the times... as spring rolls in, you will manage more and more and by June you might be able to do 5 days a week in all weathers.

    Good luck

    Yes, I'd say that one day , then three then five is a good progression. I started on Fridays (because it is a short day at my work) then Mon and Fri, then added Wed, then the whole week.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    Hey guys,

    On my commute, It says It's got just under 500m of climbing on a cycle route planner.

    How tough is 500m climbinf for a beginner:?

    500 mt in 17 miles is probably a software error in Leicestershire... you can get similar profiles in the Lake district, not where you live.

    Be realistic, right now you can't do it every day... pick the good days, those with good weather and drive the rest of the times... as spring rolls in, you will manage more and more and by June you might be able to do 5 days a week in all weathers.

    Good luck

    Yes - my round trip commute in the Highlands is 35 miles and a total of 600m of climbing. Looking at a map of the area around Coalville I doubt that there's 500ft of climbing let alone 500m. Have fun
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • wandsworthwandsworth Posts: 354
    If you have a heart rate monitor, pace yourself at or below 70% to help you last as much as the week as possible.

    Lots of good advice here. Just to be clear though ... 70% of what?
    Shut up, knees!

    Various Boardmans, a Focus, a Cannondale and an ancient Trek.
  • gaz79gaz79 Posts: 28
    wandsworth wrote:
    meanredspider wrote:
    If you have a heart rate monitor, pace yourself at or below 70% to help you last as much as the week as possible.

    Lots of good advice here. Just to be clear though ... 70% of what?

    70% of your Maximum Heart rate. Max heart rate is roughly worked out as 220 minus your age.
  • wandsworthwandsworth Posts: 354
    gaz79 wrote:
    wandsworth wrote:
    meanredspider wrote:
    If you have a heart rate monitor, pace yourself at or below 70% to help you last as much as the week as possible.

    Lots of good advice here. Just to be clear though ... 70% of what?

    70% of your Maximum Heart rate. Max heart rate is roughly worked out as 220 minus your age.

    OK, thanks. That's helpful.
    Shut up, knees!

    Various Boardmans, a Focus, a Cannondale and an ancient Trek.
  • alidafalidaf Posts: 147
    pkripper wrote:
    Mine's a 17miler each way, and the difference between riding in and feeling relaxed on arrival or arriving feeling like I've been killed and couldn't ride again for a few days is only about 10% difference on the journey time.

    +1

    I find it takes an inordinate amount of extra effort to make any real difference in time/average speed on my commute (a mere 15 miles each way). Keeping a brisk average pace up every day is also a killer. Rest days (or slow days) are going to be important. Too much, too soon will kill motivation as well as your legs.
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